TQM IMPLEMENTATION IN LITHUANIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS Roma Adomaitiene * Juozas Ruzevicius ** Abstract World economic integration causes internationalisation processes of quality. A lot of unified methods, principles and criteria are used in different countries. As more and more organisations want to become competitive, the universal philosophy and methodology of Total Quality Management (TQM) has been created and applied in business and other spheres of activities. In spite of TQM universality in Lithuania it is spread mostly in manufacture and in some kinds of service business. However, there is not much done in TQM implementation in such spheres as teaching in colleges and universities, research and consulting business in Lithuania. The purpose of this article is to analyse TQM models, experience and problems of its application in business and to study possibilities of TQM implementation in Lithuanian education institutions. In the construction of TQM model suitable for higher education in Lithuania we will look through the two aspects of TQM implementation: the first, TQM as a teaching course, and the second, its usage for assurance of teaching and research quality. 1. Internationalisation of quality World economic integration and development of international trade cause processes of quality internationalisation as the main element of competition in different spheres of business. Solid co-operation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international and regional institutions of standardisation and certification speed up processes of quality internationalisation. WTO approved the code of preparation, adoption and implementation of standards. This code relates standardisation and technical regulation of trade. In international business for this moment there is a system of technical, economic and legal regulation of quality presented in exhibit 1. * Doctoral student - University of Vilnius, Lithuania e−mail: Roma.Adomaitiene@ef.vu.lt ** Professor Department of Quality Management, Faculty of Economics, University of Vilnius, Lithuania e-mail: Juozas.Ruzevicius@ef.vu.lt 500 TQM IMPLEMENTATION IN LITHUANIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS 1. Standards (ISO, EN, Codex Stan, LST, REGULATION OF QUALITY DIN, BS, NF, GOST, GOST-R and so on), technical conditions, hygiene norms, technical regulations (international, regional, national, industrial, company’s). 6 2. Additional requirements for quality in terms of commercial contract. Goods 5 Services 3. Certification of products and quality 4 systems (quality warranty; declaration of supplier; obligatory, voluntary, 3 ecological, origin certification). 2 4. National law regulation (laws, resolutions, instructions and so on). 1 5. International law regulation (International conventions, Companies agreements, codes, EU directives, WTO decisions). 6. Requirements of society. Exhibit 1. Regulation of quality Internationalisation of quality is displayed by broader implementation of united methods, principles, criteria and tools in: - formation of quality policy; - technical and legal regulation of quality; - determination of qualitative − valuable, reliable and safe criteria of production, its marking systems; - development of international systems of accreditation, conformity warranty and certification; - quality audit; - usage of united programs of quality management and control of manufactures, suppliers and subcontractors; - assurance of consumer rights protection in quality sphere; - preparation of quality managers; - creation and implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) models and strategy. 2. Philosophy of Total Quality Management The formation and application of standardised models of quality systems and Total Quality Management is one of the recent phenomena of quality management ROMA ADOMAITIENE - JUOZAS RUZEVICIUS 501 development and internationalisation. As it is shown in exhibit 2, the application of TQM and creation of quality systems have the biggest influence on activities of companies and quality improvement of production. It should be noted that the creation of one or another TQM model and certification of quality systems for many firms is the last and transitional stage of quality improvement. Certification of quality system confirms the high level of the system but it does not guarantee economical efficiency of system’s functioning and company’s success. Implementation of Total Quality Management helps to solve this problem more efficiently. Quality, company’s success Creation of quality systems (audit, certification, ISO 9000, ISO Programs of 14000, Total Quality Quality quality Management HACCP, control improvement (TQM, TQC) GMP) Exhibit 2. Efficiency of quality management tools Total Quality Management as universal philosophy, methodology of quality management and system of quality tools formed in the 9th decade of our century. Principles of Total Quality Management overthrow traditional understanding of quality. In 1 table some differences between traditional quality management and TQM are presented. 502 TQM IMPLEMENTATION IN LITHUANIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS PRINCIPLES OF TQM TRADITIONAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT Focus on customers Focus on rules Team collaboration Isolated individuals Work seeking vision of group or Work seeking individual’s purposes organisation Systematic continuous improvement of Solution of single problems or there is no process improvement Systematic collection and usage of Decisions are made referring to feelings empirical data or opinion Looking for external information Referring only to internal information The criticism is not avoided Rejecting the criticism as wrong Workers are conceded a right to decide Individuals wait for explanations how to do the work Prevention Costs of repairing Tab. 1: Differences between TQM and traditional quality management Total Quality Management orients to the development of all kinds of company’s activities by seeking for permanent success in satisfying consumers’ requirements, improving quality of products and services, cutting down the costs. This requires participation of every employee in the development of shared mission, vision, plans and in the quest for continuous improvement. Employees and management’s partnership requires concerted efforts towards the acquisition of knowledge and skills in meeting day−to−day problems and making fast but low−risk decisions. Total Quality Management and concepts of quality systems (ISO 9000) do not contradict but supplement each other. ISO standards determine the minimum of requirements to quality that has to be assured combining the interests of suppliers and consumers. TQM is devoted to satisfy internal firm’s needs more. If ISO concept answers questions on what needs to be done in assuring quality, then TQM says how to do that. In addition Total Quality Management allows to evaluate the efficiency of tools of quality assurance. The concept of Total Quality Management is constituted by such main principles: - The main attention of management is focused on the satisfaction of internal and external customers’ needs. - Continuous development of manufacture and quality assurance. - Involving everyone into the processes of quality improvement. - Organisational control and organisational structure is concentrated on the prevention of all possible inadequacies, but not on the detection of them. - The vision, mission and quality policy of organisation are declared publicly and realised unconditionally. - Developing the full human potential of all employees. - Managing by fact, using reliable data, information and continuous and ROMA ADOMAITIENE - JUOZAS RUZEVICIUS 503 systematic analysis. - Managing business processes not just functions or departments. - Adding value to society, as well as achieving financial goals. - Continuous teaching and education are organised and directed to transformation of employees’ way of thinking and company’s culture and to implementation of TQM philosophy and quality policy. 3. Total Quality Management in education Quality has always been the essential thing in education and improving existing internal systems and procedures. The biggest difference between a good university and a poor one is the way its administrational processes and teaching are managed. Quality of university education does not guarantee employment in the area of the student’s expertise any more. Students, their families, employers and the government want assurance that the students will get “good quality” education. The question is: what does “good quality education” mean? In Lithuania there is no single conception of what is the object of quality in education institutions. Therefore it is important to determine the concept of “university education”. Such definition would be a guide in formation of teaching programs, regulation of the education system in the country and would help organise educational institutions. The concept “university education” can not be limited only to person’s training for speciality or profession. This concept means that studies of any science are not the only neither the main constituent of university education. Concentrating only e.g. on business disciplines (marketing, finance, accounting, strategy, organisational behaviour and other) gives not much. Students need interdisciplinary teaching and the development of values, competencies, skills, attitudes and behaviours. On this substantial precondition it is possible to present such definition of university education: University education is that education whose foundation is formed from the complex of social humanitarian subjects, oriented to psychological spiritual training of the person and his acculturation, and on this ground conveys knowledge of at least one special form of social (public) consciousness as the basis for the future creative work and practical activity for the professions of that sphere (Berzinskas G., 1996). It is suited to affirm synonymously that the first function of universities is diverse development of persons as precondition for the creation of a superior individual. In other words, the main obligation of higher education institutions is to train the intelligentsia. Two aspects have to be analysed when speaking about TQM in higher education. First, TQM implementation as a teaching course. The teaching of quality is vital in higher education because of global competitiveness and the nature of quality as a 504 TQM IMPLEMENTATION IN LITHUANIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS way of thinking. There are big achievements in this field. TQM is taught in almost 100 European universities and business schools. Most often TQM is taught as a postgraduate course, but in many cases TQM is part of the first degree course in qualifying managers of different spheres and quality specialists − quality auditors, quality engineers and quality managers. Besides that, students of social, economic, engineering and other specialities and employees of different companies are acquainted with quality management. The necessity of extension of TQM teaching in Lithuania is emphasised in Lithuanian national quality program. Lithuania is trying not to fall short of European programs of quality management. Though there are not many quality specialists in Lithuania. TQM and other subjects related with quality are taught in Vilnius University, Kaunas Technological University and in other education institutions. In 1995 in Vilnius University, Faculty of Economics, Department of Quality Management, a Commercial Quality Management speciality was organised in master's degree. The subjects taught to this group of students correspond to study programs of quality management in European universities. The main aspects of TQM teaching at Vilnius university are the following: quality understanding and awareness; consumer satisfaction management; corporate culture and organisational change; consumer protection management; employee involvement and empowerment; problem solving, process improvement and planning tools; process control; business process management; strategic quality planning; quality assurance systems and related audits; measurement of performance, standardisation and certification and more. The second aspect of TQM implementation in education institutions is its usage for assurance of teaching and research quality. In this field TQM is not so widespread. As tests in 2900 Western European (France, Italy, England, Norway a.o.) industry enterprises show, TQM implementation is very complicated and it is a long process. At this moment only 3% of enterprises are fully adopting TQM. The analysis we carried out shows that the level of TQM implementation in education institutions is even less. However there are a number of institutions in Europe where principles of Total Quality Management have been adopted. Quality efforts are mostly limited to non-academic activities, such as administration and support functions. The reasons for such situation could be: TQM has been accepted in similar activities in trade and industry; there is some scepticism towards a formal quality system. Some staff members fear that the formal quality system might limit their creativity and ability to deal in an innovative way with different subjects. However, after some explanations the staff members usually become convinced the freedom and self-development are also guaranteed in the quality system, even if it is more structured. The development and implementation of an industrial-like quality system in education institution is a very hard job. The separate project of TEMPUS program − “University management through an infrastructure of Information Technologies (IT)” − is devoted to the study of quality of activities of Lithuanian higher education institutions. University management Joint European Projects of TEMPUS program will promote and ROMA ADOMAITIENE - JUOZAS RUZEVICIUS 505 facilitate co-operation among higher education institutions of Lithuania and enterprises, social and public sector in view of creating conditions for higher education institutions of Lithuania to prepare for participation in European Union LEONARDO program. Projects should stimulate the potentials of higher education to meet the growing needs of the labour market and facilitate development of an open and democratic society. Experience and co-operation that Vilnius University will gain during the project will help to build an integral information system, create conditions for computerisation of Finance department. In addition project will assure reform of administration of studies, decentralise management of university: more responsibility and power to solve different questions will be given to faculties and so on. We should think that some changes need to be done in the organisational structure of Vilnius University: for example, to create separate quality management division that would solve general problems related to quality of teaching and support functions of university. Besides this quality management division could be a co- ordinator and controller among institutes, faculties, departments in quality improvement work. Now there is a group of people who work in the mention program but they still have a lot of other responsibilities at Vilnius University. So probably it is hard for them to carry the work through. We suggest to carry out the improvement of quality of activities in Lithuanian higher education institutions according to the scheme used in Economics school of Lund University, Sweden. GOVERNMENT UNIVERSITY BOTTOM UP TOP DOWN • CONTROL • ENGAGEMENT • DIRECTIVES FACULTY • CHANGE DEPARTMENT Exhibit 3. Process of quality improvement and control Not only the administration of Vilnius University started to think about quality in education. the Department of Quality management of Economics Faculty is going to implement Total Quality Management principles in its everyday work and to use quality management tools and methods for quality improvement of teaching and scientific activities. Professors, teachers and other employees of Department of Quality management have good theoretical knowledge in quality management and 506 TQM IMPLEMENTATION IN LITHUANIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS experience in quality improvement in business. However they still have some doubts and problems about TQM implementation in education system. The Department of Quality management assessed and analysed the real situation in teaching and scientific work of the department. Then it established quality policy. We think that the main accent forming quality policy and TQM model in education institutions has to be attached not to student’s teaching but to creation of possibilities to study by meeting the needs and hopes of student and market. University has to help individuals taking charge of their own learning, to develop more individualised learning approaches and cater to individual needs at various stages of life and career. The main quality factors of study conditions are presented in exhibit 4. The vision and mission of the department spread out: The vision To become the main teaching, methodology and science centre of quality management, commodity economy and technologic environment of business in Lithuania. The mission - to teach quality management to students of Economics and other faculties in Vilnius University, to businessmen and courses' listeners; - to teach the disciplines of commodity economy and technologic environment of business; - to prepare graduates of Commercial quality management speciality in master degree; - to prepare doctors in Quality management science; - in co-operation with universities and quality institutions of North and West European countries to carry out researches in quality management methodology and science; - to develop the works of science and methodology in commodity economy and technologic environment of business; - to teach the courses of consumer law protection in quality field and consumption policy; - in co-operation with Lithuanian economic and public institutions to perform the program of information and education in consumer policy and quality field; - to take part in the realisation of National quality program. ROMA ADOMAITIENE - JUOZAS RUZEVICIUS 507 508 TQM IMPLEMENTATION IN LITHUANIAN EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS The process of quality improvement in the Department of Quality management we imagine as it is shown in exhibit 4. INPUTS OUTPUTS Control Teachers Students Vision, Educational programmes mission, Teaching methods, tools Continuous quality and surroundings Quality policy and Legal, business, financial Process Improvement goals of and administrative organisa- environment tion Relationship with business practice and society Participation in the international exchanges of teachers and students Feedback Exhibit 4. Quality improvement process in Department of Quality management In Lithuanian education institutions (in Vilnius University too) in quality management work employees deal with the following major problems: - there is no single conception of what is the object of quality in education; - many education institutions do not have their clear vision, mission and concrete quality policy; - the leaders of education institutions lack modern comprehension of quality and obligation to it; ROMA ADOMAITIENE - JUOZAS RUZEVICIUS 509 - there is poor observation, care and control of quality of students’ industrial practice in firms; - lack of time and resources (most enterprises prefer short-term purposes to the long-term ones); - it is complicate to involve all members of the organisation; - much time is needed to change personnel traditional standpoint to quality: how we teach must be as important as what we teach; - after TQM implementation there is no more management improvement, i.e. it is hardly converted into a continuous quality improvement process; - big part of managers do not understand TQM essence and do not know its creation and implementation algorithm. 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